Should You Switch up Your Skin Care Seasonally?
I've been thrilled the past couple of mornings to wake up to cool air wafting through my bedroom window. A telltale sign that Pumpkin Spice...er...fall is upon us. Either way. I'm excited.
With autumn approaching, I'd like to address the question of whether or not we need to rotate out our beauty products with every new season. The answer is yes. And also no. Let me elaborate.
The fact is that your skin does experience new changes and challenges when seasons shift. At different times of the year we change our lifestyle based on what's going on outside. We eat different foods. We may travel more or less. You may spend more or less time outdoors, for example. So it follows that you will need to adjust your daily care to reflect that. However, that doesn't mean you need a whole new regime (or product line) every three or four months. It's more about making subtle tweaks to your routine to help you battle the elements.
There's a common misconception among many of my clients (and even some estheticians I know) that the skin can get "bored" or that products stop working as well once your skin gets used to them. This simply isn't true. If anything, when you find a good product that gets you positive results, the last thing you want to do is mess with a good thing. It can't take time for your skin to adjust to a product line or even one particular product. Creating upheaval when you've just settled in isn't necessary and may actually stress your skin more.
The real reason you need to modify your regimen is because changes in climate, humidity and temperature will have an effect on the skin and what it needs to be healthy. Different times of year require you to moisturize more and exfoliate less or vice versa.
A good way to think of it is similar to how you change clothes seasonally. You probably have favorite pieces that you wear all year, because they make you feel and look good. That's great! Keep those pieces in rotation. But just as you wouldn't wear your favorite pea coat in July, you may not need your heaviest moisturizer for summer either. You can save it for the colder months when you need that extra layer of protection. Skin care works very similarly to your wardrobe in this way. You don't need to go out and buy all new clothes. You just might need a few more layers on top of what you've already got on.
Make sense? Good. Now here are just a few basic guidelines to help you get your skin care ready for fall and winter. (Tips for summer can be found in this blog, if you are interested.)
Kind of a no-brainer, especially in a dry climate like Colorado. Moisture levels in the air drop as we move into colder months, making it harder for your skin to hold on to it. Even if your skin is oily, this is the time of year it's most important to add in moisture. If you're already a religious moisturizer you may still need to kick it up a notch. The environment is just harsher when it's cold, so consider applying more frequently or investing in a heavier formula from your favorite brand. Adding in extra protection will prevent dryness, flaky skin and premature aging.
Exfoliation is still important in the coming months, especially because we do see more dryness/dead skin build up. However, because the skin may already be irritated and chapped from the cold, go easy on it. If you use scrubs or scrub brushes at home you can cut back on the frequency just a little or switch to a lighter version.
That said, if you favor professional treatments, fall is considered an ideal time for your peels because you'll get less UV exposure and will be less likely to undo your results with sun damage. Treatments such as microdermabrasion and dermaplaning are also great for getting rid of those dry layers when they start to build up. You'll just want to be mindful to space your treatments out, so that the skin has time in between to repair.
Don't Forget your Lips and Hands
The drier, cooler months are notorious for causing dry, chapped and even cracking lips. So when you go to moisturize your face, don't neglect your lips. Look for lip balm or chapstick that is deeply moisturizing. Bonus points if it has SPF in it. Hands can also get chapped in the cold, so a good protectant hand cream is also a must. Look for products with shea butter or bees wax as these ingredients help moisturize on a deep level and lock it in.
Still Gotta SPF
It's common for people to skip their sunscreen in the winter. Many people only think to apply their sun block when it's hot or when they plan to be outside a lot. However, even when the sun is not at peak, you're still being exposed to damaging UV rays. Furthermore, sun reflecting off of snow is even more intense than the actual sun. Plan to apply your SPF just as much in the fall and winter, if not more. Friendly reminder: choose an SPF of 30 or higher and it needs to be in addition to what's in your moisturizer or makeup. Re-apply approximately every two hours for the best protection. Serums For the Win
As we think about layering up more for the colder months, it may be the perfect time of year to add a serum to your routine. Serums can provide all kinds of extra nutrition for the skin, in addition to extra hydration. I recommend looking for something with lots of antioxidants and/or hyaluronic acid to really enforce that protective barrier for the skin. Serums can be layered under your moisturizer after cleansing and toning, or just mix some in with your cream, if you're in a rush.
So no need to throw out your whole medicine cabinet after all. You need only add in or swap a few steps. Giving your skin just a little extra love this time of year, will help keep it strong, so you can come out fighting strong in the spring.